Pet groomers work so hard year round and these long days are just compounded by the busy holiday season. Dogs you only see once or twice a year mysteriously reappear this time of year and their owners, with a straight face, insist on a prime-time appointment. People visit their relatives and bring the family dog along and decide they will treat Fluffy to a day at the spa, only Fluffy is a ten-month-old, unneutered male Lhasa that has never been to a groomer before and is bulletproof matted. Or, fifteen-year-old Miss Kitty isn’t feeling very well, having had diarrhea all week, but the owner is sure that a good grooming will perk her right up. Good Lord, the list can go on and on!

We will all manage to get through the rough spots of the holidays. Hopefully you have prepared your salon and your clients so things run smoothly. But what about yourself? Are you taking care of yourself? I am talking to salon owners and employees who put in big hours to serve the pets that squeak into those last-minute appointments. Most everyone will survive the holidays. We all usually do, but sometimes we put ourselves and our personal well-being on the back burner. We tend to forget simple things that can bring us pleasure or satisfaction; especially during the crunch time of the busy season. But you need to take care of you! It doesn’t take much to pay attention to your own needs. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either.

Make a list and try to stick to it. Some of these things may sound overly simple, but sometimes we need to be reminded that simple pleasures help us keep things in perspective. While some of these things may actually be chores, the feeling of accomplishment after a simple task is completed can be huge! Doing so helps keep things from piling up and overwhelming us.

Procrastination be gone! Here is your short list for January:

Identify what is important to you and eradicate everything else

Go for a massage (Good for you both physically and mentally)

Get your yearly financial books closed out and get your taxes done early

Clear your desk (This goes hand in hand with the tax thing)

Go one full day without Facebook or internet drama!

Bake some cookies

Take a nice hot bubble bath (Yes, guys, you will like this, too!)

Practice saying “no”, this will come in handy when you start getting busy again

Burn that pretty candle you’ve been saving for a special occasion

Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while

Brush your own dog!

Unclutter (It’s just “stuff”)

Put it on your schedule to go to a grooming trade show or event in the coming year
(Check the Calendar of Events at www.groomertogroomer.com)

Save your tips for an entire month, you will be shocked at how quickly they   accumulate (This is how we pay for “fun” stuff)

Find that box of old photographs and go through them (Have a pencil handy to mark the backs with the people and places while you can still remember who they are and where you were)

Pull the files of several of your good customers and send them a simple, handwritten thank you note telling them how important they have been to you and your business

Go through that old jewelry box or drawer (They are a treasure trove of hidden prizes)

Clean out “that drawer” in the kitchen

Clear out a closet and have an eBay cyber garage sale!

Read your copy of Groomer to Groomer; cover to cover

Volunteer your talents at the local shelter

When you go to buy something, do something or go somewhere, ask yourself “Is this good for me?” If the answer is “No, it’s not” seek an alternative

Promise yourself that you will take time to relax and think of nothing, even for just a little while

Be grateful.

I still very much enjoy relaxing into the groom of a nice dog with a good coat and working with an appreciative owner. Much of this list was composed while doing just that. We have all experienced the bad dog with the owner that just makes us want to hang up our clippers and lock the door. But that is just one person and one dog. Sometimes you will have a day full of these kind of clients but they should not be allowed to control your thoughts and your lives.  Let it all go as they walk out your door at the end of the day. Those people may be having a worse day than you.

This is not one of my longer, ranting columns. It’s actually rather short, by my standards. I really wanted to finish 2014 on a positive note by making a list of simple pleasures that really fill the bill. I feel pretty darn good after making this list, abbreviated as it is, and I plan on following through on my suggestions. The last item on the list will be my first; and repeated often.

In keeping with my pledge to be grateful, I would like to take this moment to express my gratitude to you, my readers, for supporting my writings in Groomer to Groomer throughout the year. My recent Barkleigh Honors Award for Journalism tells me that you have not grown tired of my work and I look forward to continuing our journey together. Please keep the feedback coming! I always read each and every one and I always appreciate your comments and feedback. You can reach me at [email protected].

Lastly, I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, pleasant Holidays and a wonderful, stress-free and prosperous New Year.